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Five Steps Towards Hiring (and Keeping) the Right Employees

July 16, 2015

hiring-employeesI was recently traveling to another city to visit a client, and ended up having to rent a car. Luckily for me, I got a free upgrade to a high-performance luxury car (it really does pay to be nice sometimes). I couldn’t help but take note of the contrast between this experience and the one that comes with the economy two-door special that I usually travel in. If I had the choice (and wasn’t so darn cheap) I would choose high-performance every time.

More so, now than ever before, organizations should be focusing on hiring "high-performance employees". Selecting and keeping the right talent is critical to the success of any organization. Also, much like my upgraded rental car (who I may have named “Zippy”), they’ll shift you into high gear. Here are five tips to keep your organization on the right track, going the distance, striving and hugging the turns.

  1. Discover what success look like - Collect and analyze information from multiple sources and catalog the key technical and functional competencies necessary for success. Speak to your high performing incumbents, to your best supervisors and managers, to your key stakeholders. Get a sense for what high performance looks like today and what changes are coming down the road.

  2. Identify measurement criteria - Zippy has a dashboard where I can monitor speed, RPM, mileage, oil and other critical components of successful driving. Your organization likely has similar gauges that are used to track organizational health (e.g. productivity quotas, client satisfaction, and the like). Absolutely use this information - but also go one step further and think about what types of competencies drive these metrics. Identify what types of behaviors (both positive and negative) result in successful performance and use this information to drive your measurement of candidates (selection) and existing employees (performance management, succession planning, career planning).

  3. Give your new employee the tools they need to succeed - Despite what many teenagers may tell you the most important feature of a car is not its stereo system, but rather the engineers who spend the time thinking about safety and performance (and cup holders). Think like an engineer and outline first few days of your new employee’s new organizational life. What will they need to meet your expectations? Ask them to set up meetings with people they need to network with. Let them know where to find information so that they can learn about the company, products and services. Outline a few key activities over the first few days (or ask them to, depending on the level of autonomy you expect in the future).

  4. Check in - We all know what happens to an engine that is not regularly maintained - a slow wear down and eventually catastrophic failure. Much like your engine, scheduled check-ins are critical for your new employee’s long-term success. Provide support by assigning a coach or mentor, set a consistent check-in schedule, and provide the opportunity to for them to tell you about how things are going. Regular feedback will help your employee avoid stalling out (and keep smoke from coming out your ears).

  5. Measure the results - You’ve put in the elbow grease to build (or re-build) a great organizational culture where everyone (including new hires) is benchmarked against successful performance. You’ve invested the resources and time in your employees so that they can reach their maximum potential. How do you know if your changes are making a difference, if you hiring individuals that are performing well in their roles? Begin with evaluating the success of your efforts against individual, departmental and organizational benchmarks. Take these measurements consistently and look for trends over time.

Hiring (and keeping) the right people takes careful analysis, thoughtful planning, consistent follow through and a great deal of hard work. The results, however, will surely be worth the effort as you find your organization accelerating and powering through the obstacles ahead.

Reducing Turnover and Absenteeism for Bottom-Line Benefits

Amber Thomas Amber Thomas is a Consultant at PSI. In her role, Amber provides custom solutions to a variety of industries. Her contributions include project oversight, day-to-day client support, and on-going consultation.